CLEVELAND -- The 2001 Mid-American Conference Womens Basketball Tournament returns to Cleveland for a second consecutive year but will have a new location and a title sponsor. The 20th MAC Womens Basketball Tournament will be held at Gund Arena, Tuesday, March 6 and Friday-Saturday, March 9-10.
In addition to the tournament moving to Gund Arena, the league has also announced that Kraft Foods will serve as the title sponsor for the next two seasons. The tournament will be known as the Kraft MAC Womens Basketball Tournament.
We are excited about the move to one of the top basketball venues in the country, said MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst. However, as impressive as the building is, what is even more significant is the energy of the people who run it. The opportunity to work closely with CAVS/Gund Arena Company in growing MAC womens basketball is truly special for us.
The addition of the Kraft MAC Womens Basketball Tournament to the Gund Arena roster represents another important step for us with the Mid-American Conference, said Jim Kahler, CAVS/Gund Arena Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. This is something we evaluated thoroughly. We think the event has great potential, particularly in view of our overall relationship with the MAC.
Following first round competition on Saturday, March 3, eight teams will convene in the Rock and Roll city for quarterfinal action on Tuesday, March 6, with the top three teams from the regular season earning an automatic bid to the quarterfinals. Two semifinal contests are set for Friday, March 9 (12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.), while the championship game is slated for Saturday, March 10 (1 p.m.).
After five consecutive seasons in Toledo, the MAC womens tournament moved to Clevelands Public Hall in 2000 for a successful first year. The tournament had long range shoot-outs, a double overtime semifinal contest between Eastern Michigan and Kent State that nearly knocked off the top-seeded Golden Flashes, and a championship title contest that matched two teams -- Kent State and Toledo -- for the fifth consecutive year.
The 2001 Kraft MAC Womens Basketball Tournament marks the second year that all 13 teams participate in the tournament, after eight teams qualified from 1992-99.
Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, Gund Arena is just three blocks from Public Square, home of the MAC offices. Gund Arenas central location makes it easily accessible via three major freeway systems (I-71, I-77 and I-90). Gund Arena seats 20,562 fans for Cavs games, with 60 percent of the seats in the lower seating bowl.
Gund Arena, which opened in the fall of 1994, hosts close to 200 spectacular events each year, including Cleveland Cavs basketball, Cleveland Rockers basketball, Cleveland Lumberjacks hockey, world class concerts, spectacular family shows and signature sporting events. Each year over two million guests experience the best sports and entertainment at Gund Arena.
Gund Arena and next door neighbor, Jacobs Field (home to the Cleveland Indians), comprise the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex. This project marked the first time in the country that two sports facilities were constructed simultaneously on the same site.